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June, 24th 2015

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by Tessa Mulder

On the 23rd of June we officially opened our Interactive Experience Studio in Groningen, and quite spectacularly as well! With the studio fully up and running the IBM Services Center is becoming more versatile than ever. Buzzing with innovation, passion and the pioneering spirit of an entrepreneurial start-up, we can design, develop and deliver great business solutions.

iX studioThe day was kicked off with a speech of our Director Operations Carola Bos and Managing Director Johan van der Stel, who emphasized that the day would be all about “Experience”, to see to feel and interact with all that is happening in the ISC. Followed by a word of welcome of GM and Managing Partner, Europe Communications Sector Luq Niazi and Vice Mayor Joost van Keulen.

We did not only celebrate our studio opening but also the fact that we’re now with 100+ employees and our 2 years existence in the City of Talent Groningen. We led our clients and local partners through our center via an “Interactive Journey”, containing activities e.g. paper prototyping, empathy mapping but also showed interesting demo’s such as the Watson Personality Insights analysis, the Jaguar Landrover Kinect and Apple/IBM app’s to discover and experience the delivery phases of the ISC; Explore Design, Develop, Test and Transform.

Marketa Mach inspired by presenting about client “centricity” followed by a panel discussion  with Michel van Drie from ABN AMRO,  Kirsten Muller from Jumbo , Marketa Mach IBM and Matt Candy IBM deliberating about “Moving at the Speed of Customer Expectation”.

A red button in the center of the stage was the subject of a lot of attention during the day, and ultimately we asked our guests Joanne Collins-Smee and Matt Candy to press it. The red confetti flew around and the banners felt down. The studio was officially opened!

A big thanks to our special guests during the opening: Joanne Collins-Smee, Tim Kelyy, Luq Niazi, Matt Candy and Marketa Mach.

Curious about the transformation?
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June, 19th 2015


Mentioning Mobile, most people tend to think of the pretty little devices they sometime use to make a phone call. And of course very right so.

On the other hand, you see the introduction of many other mobile devices you can’t make a phone call with, even if you would like to. The most recent and well known toy is the Apple Watch. Nice little thing, popular as well, but for me unforgivable stupid not to have a waterproof version…

Together with the Apple watch we see many, many wearables that were already out there for a long period. We have the Pebble watch, the FitBits and the like.
It forms an interesting group of Mobile devices, those wearables. In a recent Research presentation out of the Haifa lab I saw some nice slides and directions coming up.

An industry  that is always present in these developments, is the Healthcare industry. Many years ago we talked about healthcare as being an understandably interesting area to put technology in, to make – elderly – people feel safe and to monitor them remotely. With the new wave of very powerful and wireless devices it only makes more sense to implement these in elderly care and remote care. And please be aware that I’m not pleading that we should not visit our parents anymore because we gave them an iPad… mind you!

Another project I found in the Haifa Research lab presentation is WorkRight. No, it is spelled correctly, WorkRight and has nothing to do with the former product Worklight, now called MobileFirst Platform.

IBM Research – Haifa is the largest lab of IBM Research Division outside of the United States. Founded as a small scientific center in 1972, it grew into a major lab that leads the development of innovative technological products and solutions for the IBM corporation.

WorkRight addresses the unsafe workplace in for example the construction sites. Unsafe, partly because I think the typical worker, being a man with a decent amount of testosterone running through his veins, is not a person that wants to be tampered. Tough guys, can take a scratch or two, not complaining if something is too heavy and a helmet, well yeah, …


Still, a matter of fact is that people get killed on construction sites. And I’m not only talking about those poor workers working in football stadiums in the middle of the desert. The place that former FIFA chairman found an intelligent place to build them.  Closer to home, construction workers get injured or killed as well. In The Netherlands nearly 10 people were killed last year and hundreds were injured. And Holland is a small and rather well organized country. Apart from the killing, which is impossible to put in words or numbers, the injuries and, inevitably, the cost of employees hurting and disabling themselves is sometimes building up as fast as the constructions the workers have to put in place.

Construction sites are dangerous places indeed. The sheer power of all kinds of tooling, vehicles, cranes as well as all the materials used and the heights the employees have to work on are just a couple of ingredients that makes it a hazardous place. And then of course the nature of those tough men.

Wearable devices can help. Perhaps not so much on the attitude of the workers, but having a couple of smart sensors put into jackets, shoes, helmets that measure the ambient temperature, the humidity and the heartbeat of the worker can give you insights of the local conditions. Perhaps it is best to have a break now instead of the planned one in an hour orso?

Accelerators can detect a fall and immediately send out an alert to emergency services with a precise location and also the possible injuries depending on reported data. Co-workers can be forewarned or send to the site for first aid.
Light detectors, CO(2) and/or oxygen detectors can detect environmental conditions and noise. Trembling detectors can predict an accident or even predictive analytics can forewarn co-workers.

It is like a Guardian Angel, on the shoulder of the worker. And in this case not only the shoulder, but also the helmet, the jacket and the whole lot…

Take care!

Find out more on IBM’s mobile Solutions here

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Warner Dijkhuizen, CC&CA manager IBM Benelux

Warner Dijkhuizen, CC&CA manager IBM Benelux

IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs have a focus on the full range of education, from kindergarten through primary and secondary school up to vocational education and universities, even transition to IT careers and basic IT training for seniors are in scope. Education is important because it is essential to improve the quality of the society. In the short term, schools keep the kids off the streets and in the school, and more importantly: provides them with educational qualifications which will eventually lead to jobs which in turn help to keep the economy engine running. At least when the acquired skills connect to today’s job requirements and this appears to be an increasing challenge. It is not that education models haven’t changed over the last years, quite the contrary. There are numerous new and important topics squeezed into the school day because we like our children to have mastered many skills for when they complete their full time education: road safety lessons, healthy eating and internet safety in the early years and soft skills like team working and presentation skills later on, and this all in a limited number of hours per week and channeled through the poor teacher in front of a class of 30 students.

It is not the lack of willingness to adapt within today’s education system but it may very well be the explosion of new technologies and the acceleration in change that is impeding the education-career step for many students in the future. The world is getting more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent and I cannot think of a career which is not influenced by the opportunities the new technology offers. The pace and the range of the digital revolution causes a skills gap between a graduate and any companies new hire. But also for many people who have already found a career path, a digital skills backlog is lurking around every corner, therefore we need to re-think how we acquire and maintain the skills for tomorrows jobs.

Exactly for that question: “How can we prepare the kids who have their first day in school this September and will enter the labor market around 2032?” The Dutch Ministry of Education created a task force “OurEducation2032″. Stakeholders from corporations, education and government provided their input.
Some key findings are:

  • Education and business cannot survive without each other. Companies are dependent on the knowledge and skills of their employees,  in addition, the schools and universities which train the students need companies to fuel them with the latest insights. The best students from the best schools go to the best companies, and the way to climb that ladder is collaboration.


  • Less hours in the curriculum and more time for experiments. A strict set curriculum does not encourages the innovation in education. The school and teacher  must be challenged to experiment and innovate as owner of the learning process.
  • Life long learning is a mentality. Each individual will be responsible to gather and maintain his or her own skills and graduation day is not the end of learning, just the first important milestone. And it is a part of the role of schools as well as employers to remind people of this.
  • The Netherlands must invest in public-private partnerships. The Netherlands has a gold mine when it comes to the development of public-private partnerships in education. Business and education are bridging the skills gap by working and learning together. We must continue to invest in them.

We see a number of successful and long-standing partnerships like Jet-Net and new initiatives to exchange knowledge, information and ideas nearly everyday. Some will grow, some will fade out,  but the general view is that when education and business join hands both benefit and most importantly, deliver students fit for tomorrow’s jobs.

I would encourage you to check the links mentioned below, or reach out to me on

IBM Pathways in Technology Early College High School
Summary Dutch Technology Pact. (Ministry of Education)
Jet-Net public-private partnerschip

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June, 4th 2015


We know it all, data is the new oil and what makes the world go round. We express the amount of  data in Bytes, and the prefix has gone up until Terra if we talk disk space in households and Peta in many companies. To put it in perspective: Terra is a 1 with 12 zero’s, Peta with 15.

In 2020 the world will hold over 20 Zeta, that’s 21 zero’s. 15% of that data will be in the structured form: meaning databases. Your bank details are in this categories,  patient records in healthcare, policies in your insurance company. All that ‘enterprise’ data is structured.
The rest of the data (85%) is unstructured. Your undoubtedly interesting Facebook posts, your ever so sharp tweets and your own YouTube channel. Even your spreadsheet, although it might look very structured, is as unstructured as it will get…

In general you might say that the structured data holds more value than unstructured. I mean to say that if your undoubtedly interesting posts on Facebook get lost (God forbid!)  you might not be as deeply in panic than if your bank accounts details went missing. Well, perhaps the FIFA officials now in custody have different opinions, but in general…

The structured enterprise data is typically held in the data centres. Nicely and safely tucked away behind firewalls, and hopefully well protected. From an IT architectural point of view it is centralised. It is very, if not thé most, important asset for the company. Large enterprises are forbidden (regulations) or reluctant to store that data in clouds. Would you trust your crown jewels to be save in any other place that your own designed and guarded vault?

Therefore that data has, if you like, a certain “gravity”. Apart from the regulations, It is not likely to move for it will be too big or too costly. It is very well possible to attract more data for all kind of real-time in-line analytics activities that brings new opportunities to enterprises.

Or not?

The enterprise data is of course of more value than the unstructured data what is very frequently dubbed as being social media data, but only until a certain extend. If companies mining all the social media, they can get a very deep insight on your life and (mis)use that for their and perhaps also your own benefit. Insurance companies will scan their customer base for all kind of extreme sport activities so that they can offer a more suitable (and probably more expensive) insurance policy. The unstructured data is not in one single behind the firewalls of one specific enterprise.

There is also another interesting movement going on. Samsung announced the 128GB memory Smart phones. If you are meeting with 8 colleagues, you have 1 Terabyte on a few square meters. Soon that will be even bigger and competing with the amount of storage of enterprises data centres.
Also the processing power of the smart phone are impressive as well. You can secure Smart phones as tight as you want. Those three factors makes way to store data (structured as well as unstructured) onto mobile devices at scale.

Why do we need to have our bank store OUR data? Is the data that the banks stores of OUR activities –legally– yours or is it the bank’s? Especially if the bank is using it –solely– for it’s own gains. There are discussions that you will be the owner of your data and that you authorise other entities (bank, government, friends) for a limited amount of time to access your data.

mobile (2)

Point is, you have to store and protect it. But with the growing amount of storage space on your Smart phone and with authentication techniques like Apple’s trusted TouchID there are not so many obstacles any more. (It seems that your heartbeat has more unique points than a fingerprint to authenticate you so why not use wearable devices to authenticate you?)
What will happen with the gravity of the data at the enterprises? Will it remain there, or not? If not, those banks and insurance companies might find themselves in a rather difficult situation. If they only may use it shortly and can’t do anything else with it, what will be their added value? If the data resides on the TB’s of very secured phones with impressive calculation power why can’t those phones do what banks do? If you need to calculate your risk on certain stocks and need massive compute power, let the phones team up for that job. If you have 20 or so in a room you have more compute power than National Supercomputers had some odd years ago…

So if you were to place a bet, would the majority of data in, let’s say, 5 years time still be in the data centres or will it be in on ‘the edges’ of the IT infrastructure, meaning your Mobile device?

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Lang, lang geleden werd e-mail uitgevonden om elkaar op eenvoudige wijze korte berichten te kunnen sturen. Korte vragen of brokjes informatie konden hiermee worden uitgewisseld. Sneller dan de post en gemakkelijker dan een fax of telegram.

Maar de wereld veranderde en ergens ging het mis. E-mail is uitgegroeid tot een communicatiemiddel waarmee we elkaar kunnen bedelven onder grote hoeveelheden informatie, lange stukken tekst en enorm veel berichten. Soms ontstaan problemen doordat technologie sneller evolueert dan de mens (zo werken veel mensen half met papier en half digitaal en dat is vragen om problemen in mijn ogen). Soms ontstaan problemen omdat technologie niet is aangepast aan hoe wij als mensen werken. En bij e-mail is dat laatste het geval.

E-mail bepaalt je werkdag

Bij e-mail gaat het al lang niet meer alleen maar om je e-mail. De kans is groot dat je e-mailprogramma het belangrijkste programma is waar je mee werkt. De gemiddelde kantoormens werkt er 30% van zijn werkdag mee en keert er telkens weer naar terug. Het e-mailprogramma vormt met zijn e-mail, agenda en alle informatie de rode draad van je werkdag. Je vindt er je afspraken, taken en werkzaamheden en daarmee bepalen de e-mail en het e-mailprogramma jouw werkzaamheden. Efficiënt kunnen werken begint dus met een efficiënt e-mailprogramma.

En daar wringt nou net de schoen, want de e-mailprogramma’s die wij kennen zijn gebouwd om jouw e-mail in te verzamelen. Ze zijn niet gebouwd om jou efficiënt te laten werken!


Waar zijn we mee bezig?

Soms denk ik ‘waar zijn we mee bezig’ als het gaat om e-mail. In de trainingen die ik geef over efficiënt werken met e-mail hoor ik veel klachten. Mensen klagen dat ze het overzicht kwijt zijn, dat ze enorm veel e-mail krijgen, over eindeloze discussies en dat anderen niet reageren op hun e-mail. En daarbij hebben veel e-mailprogramma’s zo hun beperkingen in functionaliteit. Overzicht houden in discussies is bijvoorbeeld vaak lastig. Ook het organiseren van je e-mail in je takenlijst of agenda is een hele toer. Of wat te denken van e-mails die je hebt verstuurd, maar waar je nog geen antwoord op hebt ontvangen? Ik verzuchtte geregeld dat het ideale e-mailprogramma nog niet is uitgevonden. Tot nu.

Het opnieuw uitvinden van de inbox

IBM erkent het noodzakelijke kwaad van de mailbox en besloot het volledige concept van de email opnieuw uit te vinden. De designers hebben het oude e-mail principe naar de prullenmand verwezen en hebben e-mail herontdekt, dit keer gedacht vanuit de mens en zijn e-mailgebruik en niet vanuit de applicaties. Het resultaat is een e-mailprogramma dat voor jou werkt, in plaats van andersom.

Natuurlijk blijft een mens maar een mens. En wij mensen hebben van nature de neiging om ons gemakkelijk te laten afleiden en onze concentratie neemt al snel een loopje met ons. Dat zal zo blijven, maar werken met een applicatie die je daadwerkelijk ondersteunt in je werk, kan je daar wel bij helpen. Meer overzicht in je e-mail en in wat je moet doen voorkomt het onrustige gevoel waardoor je constant je e-mail wilt bekijken. En doordat je je e-mail gemakkelijker kunt verwerken, houd je meer tijd over voor je andere werkzaamheden.

Ik heb de eerste launch van Verse gezien en ben echt enthousiast. Zo zie je in één oogopslag of je e-mails hebt ontvangen van jouw belangrijkste klanten of collega’s. Met één druk op de knop organiseer je de e-mails waar je wat mee moet doen of de verzonden e-mails waar je wacht op reactie. En je hebt een goed overzicht van wat je wanneer moet doen vandaag.

Wil je meer van mijn verhaal horen, kom dan naar Connect op 9 juni in Utrecht.


Annemiek Tigchelaar

Annemiek Tigchelaar

Annemiek Tigchelaar helpt bedrijven en werknemers die grip willen krijgen op hun e-mail en tijd. Middels persoonlijke begeleiding en trainingen. Zij is auteur van de boeken Grip op je e-mail (Thema 2013) en Stop de stapels (Forte 2011). Sinds de oprichting van haar bedrijf Top Orde in 2004 hielp zij talloze mensen het overzicht terug te winnen, zodat zij weer kunnen werken zonder stress.


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